Richard Artschwager

Art-world original

What Robert Rauschenberg famously said about himself--"Painting relates to both art and life ... I try to act in that gap between the two"--could just as well describe Richard Artschwager, who spent decades merrily operating in that tricky spot. Artschwager, who died Feb. 9 at 89, was a furniture maker when he decided in 1960 to resume a neglected calling as an artist. He didn't let his old trade go to waste. His Description of a Table is just that, panels of Formica inlaid on a plywood cube to crudely represent a table partly covered by a white cloth. But because...

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